Digital Training Net
Wednesdays at 8:00 PM on 147.300 MHz
Except on Club Meeting Night (second Wednesday of the month)
The Butler County Amateur Radio Public Service Group (BCARPSG) runs a weekly Digital Training Net. The purpose of the net is to give amateur radio operators experience with using Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (NBEMS) equipment, software, and operating principals.
To get started you will need each of the system components listed on the right. Click each for details.
This Net is open to ALL Radio Amateurs! You do not need experience with NBEMS or digital modes to participate. You do not even need a digital setup. Come to learn and have fun.
1. Radio – you can use an HT, mobile, or base. The radio does not need a data port or digital capabilities. As long as the radio has a speaker, mic, antenna, and push-to-talk button you are all set. Things get better when you connect directly to your computer’s sound card or use a radio-to-computer interface but these are not necessary.
2. Computer – The computer can be a PC running Linux, Mac OS, or Windows. You can even use an Android OS devices such as a mobile phone or tablet. Important to note is that you do not need a computer-to-radio interface such as a terminal adapter or special cable. As long as your computer has a sound card, speakers, and mic you are good to go.
- Fldigi – A free and open-source program which allows an ordinary computer’s sound card to be used as a simple two-way data modem.
- Flmsg – An add-on to Fldigi that enables transmission and receipt of forms such as ARRL Radiograms and various FEMA NIMS Incident Command System (ICS) forms.
- Flamp – A file transfer add-on for Fldigi.
What is NBEMS?
A Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System (NBEMS) consists of equipment, software, and protocols that enable the operator to exchange digital communications with other amateur radio stations. The system is designed to work in a variety of configurations, from simple to advance, and support multiple protocols. While there are many digital software packages available for today’s radio amateurs, NBEMS software is special in the following ways:
- It’s built on open source software, meaning that the source code is open to anyone to inspect, modify, and enhance; and it’s FREE!
- It supports several personal computing platforms: PC, Mac, and Linux.
- It can be used in amazingly simple configurations without the need to purchase additional hardware, cables, and devices (the most simple configuration consists of the software, a portable computer, and an HT).
The factors above make NBEMS ideal for disasters, emergency response, and community events.
Want to Find Out More About NBEMS & fldigi?
Check out these excellent presentations from Harry Bloomberg, W3YJ:
Tips & Tricks
- Keep Fldigi Up-to-Date. If you’re someone who worries about installing new software for bug reasons, that’s okay. It’s normal to have those feelings, but please try to stay within the last 4 release versions to minimize compatibility issues with other stations.
- Consider Using a Direct Connect Method. Acoustic coupling works great in an emergency but to minimize background noise, and free up a hand, use a radio interface cable or an external soundcard such as the Tigertronics USB SignaLink.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Come to the BCARPSG weekly Digital Training Net to become profiecient in NBEMS. You will make some great friends too!